Blacks students cause anxiety for elite White education

2016-02-29 07:13

“I am not sure what all this protests and disruptions are all about?”, asked my right wing or should I say conservative self (RWS). “Whites have always treated Blacks fairly.” So, my left wing self (LWS) decided to engage my right wing self in a ‘debate’ while my selfless self (SS) went tumbling down the rabbit hole.

RWS: Ja, I think these protesting Blacks forget that during Apartheid all the White universities supported...(interrupted)

LWS: No way (PS. I am not being rude, I just know what this idiot is going to say next), these universities were pivotal in the social and cultural reproduction of inequality and injustices, and this continues in many ways, today. So rubbish,  not all of them served as vehicles for social change.

RWS: Ja, but during apartheid, the majority of White academics, and I know because I met many, and they are nice people, fought for social change.

LWS: Are you kidding, the majority of these privileged academics were surely at best indifferent to the injustice of racist policies? Like I said, using those big left-wing intellectual English words above, many were fellow architects of it, many promoted it. Only a small  minority were open  minded and courageous enough to fight for change.

RWS: Hey, show some respect. You know academics are special. They teach critical thinking. They are not normal people. How can you teach critical thinking and be a racist? You are wrong.

LWS: Perhaps, they know how to cleverly conceal racism. You know even monkeys [Oops!] are good at concealing and imitating. And, there is a tiny difference between teaching critical thinking and being a critical thinker, but I am not sure you will appreciate this kind of insight. So know this, many academics are indoctrinated into positions as teachers and researchers to spread their inherited ideologies. Like other humans, academics are also susceptible to egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. Some are conformists, some are Machiavellian, others are narcissists. Many are all three, to some degree (RWS: Even, me?). Only a few academics are committed to genuinely making a better world and building a more sustainable future. And don’t forget nepotism is still rife in academia today. We see the ANC broederbond in government today, but in academia we still have the... (Interrupted)

RWS: Ja, ja (I am rude. But don’t worry, he is stupid <mockingly, laughs>), you and your big words, that was the past, they know about our backgrounds, how we are not prepared, we suck at math, we are violent, we have psychological issues (look at you, ha ha ha), we don't even have home computers, not even smart phones. At least, they are considerate about us in the classroom. They has many psychologists on the campuses..

LWS: But many academics use their privileged position and the power of freedom of expression to subtly maintain past injustices and conceal current injustices. They may create elaborate structures to support us but still have very little interest in humanizing a diverse classroom. They rather adopt pop psychology and play with new technologies and...

RWS: You are not being very nice now. Ok. Universities allow people to criticise but ...

LWS: No, no, no, dissenters can expect to be demonized by the majority members of the academy and administrators for challenging orthodoxies, past and present. Lucky for me, I have you, loathsome friend.

RWS: You and your stupid conspiracy theories! Management and government have worked hard to transform these Universities over the last 25 years. It takes time. It needs more dialogue, like this one.

LWS: While I agree that student demographics have changed substantially over the years and some progress has been made in some faculties and at some Universities, the romantic legacy of the past still weighs heavily on many White academics and administrators. They are resistant to change and why should they stop continuing to serve their self and group interests?

RWS: Oh so you support the EFF. You like their aggression, huh? They are racists too.

LWS: No, I don’t support the current approach by a few protesters, but I do support the cause of Black students. I can understand their anxiety and their frustrations. But I am personally not interested in statues of mythical men who have become dust, issues about secondary languages, and building name changes.

And violence: My far left side friends may be impatient. But I am middle left. Being in the middle of the left, and not left left or right left, I can think of a 100 effective ways to dissent without resorting to violence. It has only been 25 odd years now, so there is still no need to resort to violence and disruptions. We have seen how peaceful dialogue between a  proactive government and University management led to more financial support for needy students (And our leaders figured this out on their own. No nudging was required). The real urgent issue for me, apart from excessive student fees and student accommodation, however is:

WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE AN EQUITABLE NUMBER OF BLACK ADMINISTRATORS AND ACADEMICS AT THESE INSTITUTIONS?

You know if the profile of administrators and academics does not change at these institutions, those and by this I mean only one or two racist gatekeepers will continue to inadvertently or deliberately prevent Blacks from entering the academy, and maintain control over the number of Black students that enter the job market in vital professions.

RWS: You are a hypocrite! A conspiracy theorist! Were you not educated at some of these institutions?

LWS: Listen, where is that selfless-self fence sitter? Still in the rabbit hole? I wonder what nonsense he has in mind.

SS: Here I am, happy people.Listen, these institutions pretend to promote moral progress, but all I see from many of its members are behaviourally more subtle and sophisticated forms of barbarism, irrationality and contradictions, despite all the advances we have made in knowledge and technology.  Perhaps, we need to give up the fight against racism, or perhaps if racists understood that they will also, in due course, like most living things on this indifferent planet, turn into useless dust, they will be more humane in their lifetime. Me thinks bacteria and viruses are superior to a racist (Down the rabbit hole, he goes again...).

LWS: This guy is such as pessimist .. You and I should not pay too much attention to him.

RWS:Ja, I agree. We need fictions. In a bizarre way, this is where our hope lies.

[And so the left part of my self continues to believe that education will emancipate me, my right self thinks that being educated as a member of a race makes me special, while the part of my self - the fluid self that does not believe in a steady state self - thinks that perhaps, unlearning is the beginning of real education].

And man, can we do with some unlearning at these elite White education institutions!

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